Understanding the psychological reasons behind hunger can help to achieve wanted results more easily and effectively.

Craving food requires the ability to truly understand the feeling of biological hunger from other urges.  Gaining an understanding of this also aids in realising how to satisfy each type of ‘hunger’ as it appears.

Here is what you need to know to identify certain eating habits and where they stem from.

LEANNE AND FITNESS TIPS SAY:

Survival Hunger

This refers to our basic need and drive of hunger and thirst, which prompts us to eat and drink in a manner that sees us functioning normally.

If we eat less than we should and what our body needs, then, over a prolonged period of time, the experience of starvation or semi-starvation will kick in.

Some things that may be experienced are; tiredness, irritability, moodiness, poor concentration, increased preoccupation with food, social withdrawal, and reduced metabolic rate.  On top of this there are the obvious effects of weight loss and malnutrition.

What is interesting is that this biological hunger can actually be triggered by an imbalance or lack of nutrients in the diet.  Excluding high protein foods from your diet can lead to feeling unsatisfied and craving the missed protein.

Sensory Hunger

There is, of course, the search of sensory stimulation when it comes to food and eating.  Experiments have shown that a certain level of sensory stimulation is paramount for normal development and functioning.  When applied to eating and drinking, this seems to suggest that we will actively seek out food that stimulates our senses of sight, touch, smell and taste.  A meal may fill our stomachs momentarily, however if the meal lacks flavour or texture, then more than likely we will be at the fridge a while later, seeking out the food that will satisfy.

Emotional and Spiritual Hunger

When we are hungry for nourishment in our emotional, mental, social and spiritual lives, and these are not met or challenge our expectations, then we often turn to food for distraction or satisfaction.

If we are not fully aware of these deeper types of hunger, then often we misinterpret them for a craving for food.  This results in using food to fill emotional voids or distract us from what is going on in our lives.

So, what can you do to help with these various forms of hunger?

When it comes to Biological Hunger it is generally physiological.  You may feel rumbling in your stomach, or feel tired and irritable.  The feeling of being hungry will not just cease and go away.  In fact, it will increase over time.  Eating will improve the symptoms mentioned, not just instantly, but for the next couple of hours depending on how much food is consumed.

Sensory Hunger is when your stomach is full but you are not satisfied.  This is why it is important to enhance flavour, texture and appearance to your foods to satisfy the hunger better.

When it comes to Emotional Hunger, the urge to eat even though not truly hungry will decrease if you wait or distract yourself.  At the time, emotionally eating feels good, however it doesn’t improve how your body feels in the long run.

It doesn’t matter where they stem from, all types of hunger deserve attention.  If ignored and built up over time, hunger, of any type, may make us indulge in excessive eating behaviours that do not nourish or fulfil us.

It is important to listen to our bodies and minds and trace our hunger to it’s true source to know what you are really dealing with.

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